With just three weeks left in the regular season, the wintry matchup in Ames is a must-win game for both the Texas Longhorns and the Iowa State Cyclones. For Texas, hopes of a berth in the Big 12 Championship game hinge on winning out, while the Cyclones want to reverse their fortune of close losses in big games.
This matchup pits two of the top quarterbacks in the country, with both Sam Ehlinger and Brock Purdy looking to achieve their high standards of performance.
Burnt Orange Nation: Brock Purdy has once again been the driving force behind the Iowa State offense, leading the conference in passing yardage, in spite of losing two of his biggest offensive weapons from last year. What has been the secret to avoiding the sophomore slump for the signal caller?
Wide Right and Natty Lite: While Purdy did lose both David [Montgomery] and Hakeem [Butler], other familiar faces have continued to provide consistency and avoid the aforementioned senior slump. Additionally, there is a new mold of talent. Breece Hall and La’Michael Pettway are new faces for the 2019 season that have helped Brock out. Fun fact, through nine games he is more accurate than last season.
BON: Three of Iowa State’s losses this year have been less than a field goal, including last week’s matchup against Oklahoma. What do you think it’s going to take for Iowa State to get that one break that they need to get back in the win column?
WRNL: Details details details. Maybe finally playing in a hyped Jack Trice Stadium will turn the fortunes. I really don’t know, as we’ve only won twice in this series.
BON: The Cyclones have been a bit uncharacteristic this year, turning the ball over 12 times this year, sitting -1 in turnover margin. The biggest offender is Purdy’s three-interception game against Oklahoma State. What happened against the Cowboys and how did Purdy tighten up in the next week?
WRNL: If I remember correctly, Purdy was trying to hit a streaking Kolar and the DBs just jumped in front of the passes. This game was now a couple weeks ago, so while it’s important in the context of a whole season, it is an outlier.
BON: Defensively Iowa State has struggled in the red zone this year, ranking No. 101 in the country after giving up 87% when opponents reach the red zone. What has been the reason for their struggles as they approach the goal line?
WRNL: Geesh, that’s the ranking? I wouldn’t have guessed, but I’m also not surprised. As good as Zach Petersen is, losing JaQuan Bailey for the season hasn’t been ideal. The overall health of the D has been like me this semester, maybe healthy for two or three weeks (haha).
BON: What’s one matchup you’re watching this weekend?
WRNL: Malcolm Roach vs. the ISU O-Line, I’ve had my eye on him since his freshman year and he is still continuing an elite talent trend on the end.
BON: What’s your prediction for Saturday?
WRNL: Well, if Chris “The Bear” Fallica says I’m a homer, here’s further proof. Iowa State 31 - Texas 17